You are here

Europe: Tech and tobacco depress shares on busy earnings day


[MILAN] Drops among tech stocks, tobacco firms and banks led European shares lower on Friday as company results failed to provide support for the market.

The region's tech index, the top performer so far this year, was down 1.3 per cent, helping drag the pan-European STOXX 600 index down 1 per cent by its close.

Britain's FTSE fell 1 per cent, while export-orientated German blue-chips, lately penalised by a strong euro, fell 0.4 per cent.

"Weighing on the markets are not only disappointing results from Amazon and the strong euro... We are also nearing the end of July where traders like to take some profits," City of London Markets trader Markus Huber said.

Market voices on:

Substantial losses among tobacco firms British American Tobacco, 6.8 per cent lower, and Imperial Brands , down 3.8 per cent, weighed after the US Food and Drug Administration said that it aimed to cut nicotine in cigarettes.

The STOXX is set to end July with a slight loss of 0.3 per cent and a weekly fall of 0.5 per cent. "However the overall picture remains fine, the euro zone economy seems to be powering ahead nicely," Mr Huber said.

Data from France showed the euro zone's second largest economy grew 0.5 per cent, helped by a surge in exports.

Turning to company results, Deutsche Bank strategists said the earnings season was picking up with strong beats in the energy, telecoms and financial sectors while consumer, utilities and industrials stocks have seen net misses.

According to Thomson Reuters IBES data, almost 40 per cent of companies in the MSCI Europe index have reported results, with 52 per cent beating earnings estimates and 7 per cent matching them. Second-quarter earnings growth is expected at 19.7 per cent.

With only the energy sector in positive territory, banks were another weak spot, led lower by a 1.7 per cent fall in Barclays after a loss in the first-half.

UBS, the world's biggest asset manager, fell 1 per cent after results which Baader Helvea said were relatively soft.

"We believe, the market will once again raise concerns about a disappointing WM's (wealth management) gross margin dynamic," Baader said in a note, maintaining its "buy" rating.

Credit Suisse also reported results, and its shares gained more than 3 per cent.

Among top STOXX fallers were shares in Renault and Essilor, which also reported results.

A bright spot was Adidas, up 8.8 per cent at a record high as the group raised its full-year outlook after improving margins helped the German sportswear maker achieve an 18 per cent jump in second-quarter operating profit.

Spain's DIA rocketed 15 per cent to the top of the STOXX after LetterOne Investment Holdings bought a 3 per cent stake in the supermarket chain.